If you are a regular reader of this blog, or peruse our website, you know that Pierce Atwood has had a partnership with the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) for many years, working with them on a variety of equality efforts. In doing so, we've often teamed with Mary Bonauto, GLAD's Civil Rights Project Director.
A few weeks ago she was named a MacArthur genius, and never has anyone deserved it more. She's only the second Mainer to be so named – a big congratulations! (http://www.macfound.org/fellows/909/)
Last Monday, Pierce Atwood and GLAD filed suit in Rhode Island U.S. District Court against the Social Security Administration for wrongfully denying survivor benefits for Deborah Tevyaw after the death of her wife, Patricia Baker. Here's a copy of the complaint and attached exhibits.
Monday was also the day that the U.S. Supreme Court pondered whether/which petition for cert to grant in the various actions across the U.S. challenging states that deny marriage equality. We're hoping they take Kitchen v. Herbert, coming from the Tenth Circuit, No. 13-4178, challenging Utah's same-sex marriage ban, because that's the one that Mary is working on. If ever anyone deserved to argue this issue before the Supreme Court, it's Mary. She's been working for LGBT rights for decades; spearheaded the first marriage case in Massachusetts; and (here's Cathy opinionating) the only reason the Supreme Court couldn't take her First Circuit case challenging DOMA and had to take the others last time around is because then-Solicitor General, now Supreme Court Justice Kagan had worked on that matter and would have had to recuse herself, threatening a 4-4 split. No such problem this time around, so hopefully the Supreme Court will call on the lawyer whom Barney Frank has stated is the Thurgood Marshall of LGBT rights to do the honors.